12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Verse 12 appeals to the necessity of judging ourselves now in the light of the fact that God will review our case at the judgment seat. We should not sit in judgment on others; rather, we need to judge ourselves.
12 So then
The words “so then” give a conclusion of the quotation from the previous verse.
each of us
Each Christian will surely give account of his or her life to God at the judgment seat. No believer, including the mature believer, will be exempt from the assize of God.
shall give account of himself to God.
Paul included himself as one who will stand at the judgment seat of God to give account of his life. Only Christians will stand at the judgment seat of God. Non-Christians will stand before an entirely different judgment—the Great White Throne judgment where all non-believers will be judged for rejecting Jesus as their Savior.
The word “account” was used for the keeping of financial records. God keeps a record of everything we do.
He 4: 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
The word “himself” makes this judgment personal. No one will stand with us; we will be there and no one else with us. We will face the Lord alone. We will stand there justified with our sins forgiven, so there will be no condemnation of our sin, but God will review what we did with the stewardship He gave us. Then He will reward us on that basis.
Each of us will give an account “to God” at the judgment seat of God and not to fellow believers. It is completely inappropriate for believers to assume God’s role in judging fellow believers.
We need to get clear in our minds that for which we are accountable. We are not accountable for our sin, because Jesus was accountable for that. On the other hand, God will evaluate how we used our gifts, resources, and time. Christians are responsible to take inventory of their time, treasure, and talents.
Christians need to take stock of their lives in view of the judgment seat of God.
The judgment seat of God does not determine whether a person goes to heaven or hell. The issue for the Christian is simply reward, not punishment. The eternal state of the believer is not at stake. That issue was resolved when he believed.
The judge is probably both the Father and the Son, for the Father judges through the Son:
Jn 5: 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.